Cinedigm // 2012 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // August 31st, 2013
Jobs like this don't just fall out of the sky.
John (Andrew Bowen, MADtv) is having a bad day, and it's about to get worse. He gets called into work when he's supposed to be comet-watching with his son. Upon arriving he learns he'll be spending his shift with Alison (Felicia Day, The Guild), his ultra-perfectionist subordinate.
Also manning the nightshift are cocky gamer Seth (Justin Chon, Detention of the Dead), alcoholic old timer Tom (Gerry Bednob, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and noob Danny (Kevin Wu). So John knows the night will see the same old routine he's already lived countless times. To top it off, Department of Defense employee Austin (Mark Woolley, Poet Heads) is there to analyze performances for budget cuts.
That's right...the D.o.D. Why? Because these are the "rock jocks," part of a secret government initiative whose nightly job is to save the world by deflecting and/or destroying asteroids from Earth's atmosphere.
Like its title, Rock Jocks gets off to a somewhat rocky start, with some clunky exposition as we establish who these people are. But while another movie would have these characters be ultra-spies and take themselves very seriously Rock Jocks goes another route. What if the people who saved Earth every night treated their job like 99 percent of people do? What if their job caused stress and turmoil in their lives and they bitched to each other about it?
That's the charm of Rock Jocks: Taking a group of people performing the most important job in the world and making them relatable, not only in terms of themselves as characters but also in terms of how they relate to each other. And the relationships are what bind the film. My favorite character is Smoking Jesus (Doug Jones, Hellboy) who has an obsession with Rube Goldberg machines and spends 90% of the film trying to smoke in non-smoking areas of the compound.
You can see the plot unfolding from a few light-years away and the ending won't surprise anyone but it's the characters you're watching so it almost doesn't matter. By the end of Rock Jocks you're laughing out loud. And while there's no doubt it's targeted at geeks, the in-jokes are seamlessly woven in so outsiders will be able to glean the context easily enough.
The 1.78:1 video transfer plays like a current low-budget film with a clean even palette. However the graphics are a step above what you'd expect and a pleasant surprise. The same can be said for the audio which is an impressive Dolby 5.1, definitely a broader range of sound than I anticipated.
There is a three-part behind-the-scenes collection of interviews and a trailer to serve as the special features.
Rock Jocks has a simple story with well-developed characters. It's fun to watch these characters and harmless fun.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site